Planning and coordinating a trade show is an overwhelming experience. From all of the logistics to handling the needs of each specific individual that will be assisting or representing your company, there’s always a million things to do and nothing can fall through the cracks. If you hit these 7 focus areas for event planning, you’ll ensure your company presents well at its next trade show, while also providing your team with the resources they need to stress less and enjoy the experience.
1: Supply your team with tradeshow must-haves
There are a few absolutes that all team members need in order to properly execute a trade show while also properly representing your company. These can vary from event to event and company to company, but will likely include:
- Event passes - Many events have different passes with varying degrees of access and designation. Be certain that your team has the necessary access to fulfill their needs while at this event.
- Business cards - A trade show is a chance to connect with people who will love your product as much as you do. You never know who on your team could create a valuable connection that could lead to a sale. Make sure each team member has a professional and branded business card to make a good first impression.
- What to wear - Decide ahead of time whether your team is dressing casual, formal or in branded apparel for the event. Looking good is one thing but looking like a unified team is also critical at trade shows.
- Company gear - Create a branded experience from top to bottom with branded notepads, pens, laptops, tablets, etc. for your team to utilize at the event. This not only equips your team with the tools they need to thrive at the trade show, but also sets you apart from other presenters at the event.
- Set expectations - What does your company expect from team members that are staffing a booth, speaking on stage or networking? How do you want your brand presented at this event? Make sure each team member knows what is expected of them at the trade show.
2: Put together helpful travel information
Not everyone your company is sending to an event may be an experienced pro. For those that are green to work travel, offer helpful tips on to how to plan, what to pack and how to navigate airports and transit.
For everyone on the team, make sure that they have up-to-date identification and passports. Review flight and hotel information. Some employees may be so swamped with work that even providing a forecast of the weather in the city where they are staying would help them pack appropriately.
3: Provide them with all necessary on-site contacts
No matter how seasoned an employee is at traveling for work or event marketing, a nomadic life can be disorienting. Knowing who to go to when a question inevitably comes up is invaluable for finding quick solutions to any roadblocks your trade show team may experience. From event leaders and coordinators to A/V specialists, event and/or venue staff can act as an extension of your team if called upon.
Create a rapport with event and venue teams. You never know how often your team could interact with these companies and a positive reputation within your network of events specialists never hurts.
4: Handle the shipping, disbursement and display of event materials
What are the different materials, collateral and deliverables that your team will need to make this trade show go off without a hitch? Is it different than the last trade show? Did they run out of branded pens last trade show while having to ship back all of the koozies that nobody wanted?
Make sure your team has everything they will need to present your company properly. Ensure that all materials are sent to the venue in time and that your team knows how to get those materials to their booth/stage location. This could require locating ideal access points and freight elevators ahead of time and coordinating with team members, event staff and/or venue staff to ensure everything gets where it needs to be safely and on-time.
Once your event supplies have been properly transported to the right location, you’ll also want to provide your team with any needed display and setup instructions. It’s not enough for your booth to exist, it should have a strategic and aesthetically captivating layout that presents your company/products/services in the best possible light.
5: Make sure they have an up-to-date itinerary of the event
Beyond general event dates and times, each team member should know their exact involvement within the trade show at all times. Whether they need to be staffing the booth, attending a key cocktail hour or presenting on stage, communicating specialized itineraries for each individual team member will avoid costly confusion and maximize your company’s investment in this event.
6: Offer your team a layout of the venue(s)
Save valuable time and prevent the possibility of a team member being in the wrong place at the wrong time by sharing layouts of the venue or area of the event. It will be helpful for your trade show team to know where certain areas are, such as booth locations, presentation rooms, networking areas, office rooms that the company is renting, hotel placement, entrances for the team and materials (if different than main entrances), dining locations, freight elevators, etc.
7: Give them a quick rundown of the city
Traveling for work can mean time away from family and your normal routine. So while offering up a few places to see and things to do that fit each individual team member may not convert more leads, it can make for a happier traveling experience and boost morale.
Your team is working hard to promote your brand and its products/services across the country, let them know you recognize their hard work by helping them enjoy their time on the road.
There are any number of trade show snafus that can occur. Don’t let them reflect on your talents as an event coordinator. Help your company’s traveling trade show team flourish no matter where they go with these trade show tips. For more on getting the most from an upcoming trade show, read our comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Your Trade Show Plan.